To become a good dispatcher a person needs compassion, the ability to multi-task and quickly process information, a laser focus, and be able to move on from one call and immediately handle the next.
Brandy Watts, who has achieved the rank of Police Dispatcher II, embodies all of those, according to her supervisor. Watts last week was named the Bakersfield Police Department's Dispatcher of the Year.
"She is always, always upbeat, always has a smile," communications manager Terrye Steiner said. "She performs very well under pressure and doesn't seem to be bothered by a lot of the things we hear on the phone that are negative or sad or troublesome."
Steiner said Watts, hired in December 2000, has received 30 commendations in her career, including three in the past year, one in connection with an officer-involved shooting and another a bank robbery. There are 29 dispatchers at the BPD.
Watts said she's dealt with various calls throughout her career and she has a great working relationship with everyone at the BPD. She said she does her best to ensure the safety of both the officers and the public.
"I'm absolutely touched and thrilled to be awarded (Dispatcher of the Year)," Watts said. "We're just part of the police family, the first point of contact with the public."